Larry Johnson has had a profound impact on a lot of defensive linemen in the over the last 20 years.
One is Anthony “Spice” Adams, a Penn State defensive tackle in the early 2000s, when Johnson served as an assistant there. The two sat down for an interview with Big Ten Network and after talking about Ohio State and his transition to Columbus, opened up about a great moment the two shared more than 15 years ago.
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) October 8, 2016
“The encouragement that you gave me, I appreciate it. I’m holding back a lot of tears right now because he means so much to me and my family and I just want to thank you, coach,” Adams said. “We gotta end this because I’m about to start crying.”
Johnson had a great reply.
“I can close with this,” Johnson replied. “Your mom called me that day and she gave me permission. She said, ‘Coach Johnson, you can use a belt, a switch,’ anything I wanted to make sure you understood exactly what it took to be a man. And really, Spice, from that moment on, you changed.”
Johnson coached five first-team All-Americans as Penn State’s defensive line coach from 2000-2013. He was the school’s best recruiter and was one of just two coaches Bill O’Brien kept on his staff when he took over in 2011.
Johnson left for Ohio State in 2014 when James Franklin became Penn State’s coach.